Latest Updates For LEED Certification Of Commercial Buildings

There are changes in store for Houston commercial construction companies and business owners who are hoping to achieve LEED certification for their Houston metal buildings. New changes to LEED certification requirements were made effective June 2015. While the volume of changes may seem overwhelming at first glance, it is better to see them as needed improvements that have been put off for too long. This is a summary of the key changes in the requirements.

End To Minimal Efforts

In the past, LEED was accused of giving credits to people who took advantage of easy and cheap credits but skipped any that were harder to complete. Many people believe that buildings with credits only for minimal work are greenwashed and should not have as many credits. To remedy the issue, LEED implemented several prerequisite requirements such as monitoring the use of water and energy in a building. Some of the harder-to-achieve credits will be requirements for basic LEED certification instead of being options.

Improved Material Transparency

The change that most people are talking about is the one that involves material transparency. This makes it crucial to know what is in a building, what materials are being used and where the materials came from. Improved material transparency will also come with a heavier workload for those involved. It is time-consuming to obtain life cycle assessments, healthy product declarations and other documents. Although the task load will increase, LEED also offers credits for just reporting a design’s LCA. This applies even if the report shows that the building is not optimized to be environmentally friendly.

Integrated Design Process

The new LEED certification changes will award credits for bringing together full construction teams during early design phases. This is because LEED believes that buildings where teams of experts stick together and collaborate from the start yield optimal results.

Envelope Commissioning

New LEED certification requirements provide an option for testing the exterior of a building. It allows the exterior to be tested for its airtight and watertight capabilities.

Changes To Benefit Consumers

Not all of the new LEED v4 changes require work from consumers. LEED understands that the new changes will bring new sets of challenges and potential issues. For this reason, one of the changes made on LEED’s end was to provide better support to consumers. They realized that many of the smaller projects required for different LEED credits can be expensive and difficult to complete. LEED plans to simplify the submission requirements and offer tutorials with step-by-step instructions showing consumers how to complete different processes. In addition to this, LEED is improving its technology platform to add more intuitive features.

Another benefit is that LEED options will be available to more of the construction industry. Their system has branched out to include warehouses, hospitality venues, retail stores, schools, distribution centers, data centers and several residential structures. Availability for some residential structures, schools and retail locations is limited to existing construction.

Future LEED Changes

These will not be the last of LEED’s requirement changes. Individual contractors and construction companies must stay current with future changes to LEED’s requirements. One of the major criticisms of the newly-launched LEED v4 is that it does not address the many complaints of not offering incentives for true innovation in green construction. Since there were several changes made to the requirements in this round of alterations, LEED did not want to overwhelm the construction industry with too many changes at once. With changes affecting all sectors from a Houston paving contractor to a Houston industrial painting provider, these changes are important for all Houston commercial construction companies to consider in green construction.

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KCS Construction Services is a general contractor focused on commercial and industrial construction in the Houston area.

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